Information Overload – The Answer for 2008 May be As Simple As Hot Chocolate

I thought the period around New Year’s Day would be quiet.  I would finally catch up on some long-standing projects and perhaps even take a few hours off.  The New York Times and AP stories about our twist on the person or product of the year, naming Information Overload as the 2008 Problem-of-the-Year, pretty much guaranteed that would not be the case.

We certainly struck a nerve.  But don’t let that stop you calling or e-mailing. Most importantly, if you haven’t yet, please take our New Workplace Challenges survey.

Other stories have followed on CNN, NPR, ABC, and Fox Business News, and dozens of bloggers have been writing about this, many of them identifying with the problem and wondering what to do about it.

In the meantime, I’ve been studying your responses in our New Workplace Challenges survey.

We’ve gotten hundreds of responses thus far and it will take us a while to analyze the data and discern patterns, but there were a few responses to a question about dealing with meeting strict deadlines that I feel should be discussed.

While a lot of people simply “disconnect,” here is what a few others had to say.  I think these folks are onto something here.
- “I decline meetings to which I am not a primary decision-maker.”
Good sage advice.
- “Once I used my e-mail out-of-office message to notify folks that I was “in a meeting” (with myself!) for a few hours.”
This is something I hadn’t thought of.
- “I basically ignore everything/everyone until [a project or task] is done.”
Usually good advice.
- “I set goals for time use.”
Hard to do sometimes.
- “I hide from family [and] co-workers where I will not be found/disturbed (coffee shops, basement, someone else’s office/desk work well).”
More and more people indicated the need to “hide” but this respondent gave advice as to where one could hide.

And my favorite
“Usually I will (and don’t laugh) get comfortable – this time of year – fuzzy slippers, loose sweatshirt etc, cup of hot chocolate, favorite tunes on the iPod!”

For me, I think the hot chocolate will do just fine.

If you haven’t yet taken the survey, please click here.  Survey takers are eligible to enter a drawing to win a Palm Treo 750 with Windows Mobile 6.

Please take the survey today and feel free to share this link with colleagues.  The more input we get via the survey, the more we can do to solve the problem of Information Overload together.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

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